HUGE mallow plant...should i prune or move?

sobeadit(Sac area, CA)June 6, 2012

Hello, I have a rose mallow plant that has gone gazonga this year and is about 10 feet tall and 5 or 6 feet wide. It's now too big for the spot on the patio where i put it. i should have put it in a corner. I have another spot perfect for it in an empty corner, but what shoudl i do? wait till fall? then what, prune it back to just "sticks" and move it? should i prune it now to control growth? if I purne it back will it get bushier? i am kind of a beginning gardener.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would NOT move a 10 foot tree this time of year.. and you are thinking about moving a 10 foot perennial.. in what is basically the heat of summer??? .. i dont recommend such .. i mean.. go ahead and do it.. but dont be surprised if it doenst wilt to the ground ...

hit it with the machete ... but before you do.. post us a pic.. because i was not aware they had this potential .. i am suspecting the common name means its not the plant i am thinking about ....


    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:06PM
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sobeadit(Sac area, CA)

I didn't think a mallow was a tree. i may have over stated maybe the tips of it come to 8 feet? it's higher than my 6 foot fence. it branches out into woody branches low above the ground so i am not sure is this a tree? here is a pic from the web of what mine looks like. mine does not look this bushy though, not this full.

so i should prune it back in the fall, to "sticks?" the main branches? if i prune it now, not that drastic, will it become bushier? it's shot up so much that all the branches are super long and spindly.

Here is a link that might be useful: water saving plants website

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:40PM
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It's Lavatera, aka tree mallow and yes, can get huge. It is not a true shrub, as the stems do not fully ripen into a woody framework and it is recommended that the plant get pruned back hard on an annual basis in late winter or spring. The weight of those very long stems laden with foliage and flowers can actually tear the stems apart from the base of the plant.

I wouldn't attempt to move it now but you are unlikely to do any significant damage (and may even provide some benefit) by cutting back as desired. I've wacked this plant back at various times of the year without any ill effects.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 4:05PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i was analogizing to the 10 foot size.. not suggesting it is a tree ...

anything at 10 feet with what.. 1000 leaves.. is going to have VERY EXTREME stress.. and it would not be good to move it in summer ...

not that you cant do it.. its just that it will collapse and look like HECK for weeks

so just whack at it.. gal gave you permission ... based on experience ...

and then move it in dormancy ... or the slow growth cool time of year .. NOT SUMMER ...

its all about total root disturbance.. when the plant really needs the water to deal with summer heat ... one might say that the TIMING is all off ..


    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 6:42PM
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Campanula UK Z8

yes, I agree with gardengal - these tree mallows can become gigantic in one or 2 seasons. However, they flower on new wood so if you cut it back quite hard, it will put out some new growth and even a crop of late flowers. It gets very brittle and is inclined to prune itself by losing chunks of stem - which does get woody over time. The cultivar 'Barnsley' is a much more mannerly plant, acting much more like a true perennial. You might to take a look at L.maritima which is more tender than L.olbia but has delightful foliage and blooms.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 3:37PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

I'd suggest just pruning it now and moving it in the fall, unless you can wait til next spring. The least stressful time for the plant would be to move it when it first starts to come out of dormancy in the spring.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 1:37PM
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